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Sudan Opposition Figure to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are Close to Agreement with Military Council

Sudan Opposition Figure to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are Close to Agreement with Military Council

Wednesday, 8 May, 2019 - 06:15
Protesters in Sudan. (Reuters)
Khartoum – Aidroos Abdulaziz and Ahmed Younes
Leading member of Sudan’s opposition Alliance for Freedom and Change, Omar al-Dukir, expressed his optimism that an agreement may soon be reached with the transitional military council on ruling the country after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir last month.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that pending differences with the council center on “our vision of the transitional council. This dispute has led to a delay in the transition of power.”

“Sudan is in the process of becoming a new country. We managed to remove the former regime through a brave popular revolution and all that remains is to establish a transition authority that would lead the nation on the path of salvation,” he stressed.

“This path is rife with differences between the Freedom and Change and military council, which has seized power. We want civilian rule,” he demanded.

The disputes are centered on the sovereign council both sides are seeking to set up. “They want a military council, while we want a civilian one with military representation and limited privileges,” he said.

“There are no deep differences with the military council, which wants to play an influential role in the transitional authority through the sovereign council. We want it to have a symbolic role where the military assumes security and defense duties,” Dukir added. “This is at the heart of the dispute.”

“The situation in Sudan is affected by internal and foreign, and regional and international meddling that is unavoidable,” he acknowledged.

Despite the differences, Dukir told Asharq Al-Awsat that he was optimistic that they can be resolved, hoping this will take place in the first weeks of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Monday.

Asked by Asharq Al-Awsat if the political parties in Sudan are qualified to lead the country during such a critical phase, he replied: “The parties have been exhausted by the oppression of the former regime. They were deprived of the opportunity to communicate with the youth.”

“They are now demanded to renew themselves and address the youth as they are the backbone of the forces of change,” he continued. “The youth must play a major role in the transition because they represent the spirit of the revolution and unity.”

“We want to raise Sudan from the rubble. It has been worn down by corruption and dictatorship that have destroyed all means of production. Foreign assistance is necessary. This is what we aspire for,” Dukir revealed.

Such foreign assistance can take the form of loans, donations and grants. The economy must also be salvaged by paying the wages of state employees and providing wheat and bread to the people, he proposed. Afterwards, the process of restructuring the economy can be begin.

Attention must be shifted to productive sectors and to that end, corruption must be rooted out. “I am optimistic that the economy will improve within two years,” he stressed.

He revealed that the opposition has received foreign pledges for aid and it is important that sound leadership be established in order to lead the country.

Asked about security concerns in wake of the security forces’ confiscation of explosive belts and arms from a property in Khartoum on Monday, Dukir said: “Sudan rejects violence.”

“A strong government is needed to perform its duty in preserving security,” he added. “We want to restore balance between state agencies and society. We should not confront the deep state with reprisals. Partisan figures must be kept out of state agencies and politicized and unqualified figures must also be kept away.”

“The deep state is in control of all institutions,” he remarked, urging the need to speed up the transition process to remove it.

Asked whether the Popular Congress Party and the National Congress will be part of the political process, Dukir replied: “They will not be allowed to participate in the transitional government. They must await elections. They have the right to run in the upcoming polls.”

“I hope the transition can take place without foreign mediation, but this depends on the military council and how receptive it is of our proposals.”

“Our relations with regional countries and the international community must be deeper than what they are right now. At the moment, they are limited to meetings between ambassadors and some envoys. The Freedom and Change powers must have contact with influential countries as Sudan needs financial assistance in the near future,” he added, while thanking Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their financial support to Sudan.

“We hope for greater cooperation for the interest of our people,” Dukir said.

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